In response to dietitians, absolutely the worst time to eat carbohydrates

Some would say that our love-hate relationship with carbohydrates is a bit out of control and has made eating a lot more complicated than it needs to be. It’s easy to see where our confusion is coming from. After all, carbohydrates provide our body’s primary source of energy after being broken down into glucose or blood sugar. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, drive up insulin, which makes our bodies hold on to fat. The best way to get a grip on this carbohydrate conundrum is to identify and avoid the worst carbohydrates for your body (the highly processed, sugary, refined carbohydrates) and the best and worst times to consume carbohydrates for Figure out your health and health lifestyle.

We asked nutritionists and other experts for help. Here’s how they found the worst times to eat carbohydrates. For more healthy tips, check out our list of 15 Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.


The worst times to eat carbohydrates vary from person to person. So you need to evaluate your body and lifestyle, says certified nutritionist Reda Elmardi, CEO of If you don’t exercise or have a sedentary job, don’t eat high-carbohydrate meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Cut carbs from one or two of these meals, he says.

“If you are very active all day, it’s okay to eat carbs anytime – just don’t overdo the calories,” says Elmardi.

The physical therapist and bodybuilder advises people who are mostly sedentary but have a set workout time to plan to consume most of the carbohydrates of the day around that workout.

“But it’s not essential,” he says. “The body can store glycogen for later use. As long as you use up the energy at some point, you will be fine.”

Here are 8 side effects of eating too many carbohydrates.

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Don’t hit carbohydrates; We need them to get through our work day, school day, and exercise, says Natasha Funderburk, RN, BSN, Certified Trainer and Nutritionist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

“If we can learn to look at carbohydrates as our main source of energy, it will be easier to understand when it is best to eat or avoid them,” Funderburk says.

The worst time to eat carbohydrates is when you are running out of energy. For most of us, it’s in the evening when you’re on the couch. “When we load carbohydrates to sit in front of the TV, our metabolism is already shut down, and our body will ultimately store those carbohydrates as fat since there is no point in burning them out as fuel.”

According to science, read the ugly side effects of not exercising to recover from the couch.

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Make a habit of limiting carbs two to three hours before bed, advises Morgyn Clair, RD, a nutritionist registered with “Keep nighttime snacks to 15 grams of carbohydrates or less,” she says.

“”[Because] The main role of carbohydrates in the body is energy, and the body does not consume energy at rest. The carbohydrates are generally stored as fat, “says Clair.

The certified nutrition specialist Dr. Josh Ax, DC, founder of Ancient Nutrition, extends this advice to include eating foods 2 to 3 hours before bed to improve digestion, metabolic health, and sleep.

“Avoiding too little carbohydrates before bed allows your body to digest and fasts overnight, which can have positive effects on your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity,” he says. “If possible, try to walk 12 hours overnight (between dinner and breakfast the next morning) without eating anything, including carbohydrates.”

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You may have heard of a counter-intuitive form of carbohydrate timing called “carb backloading” for weight loss. The idea behind this trendy diet is to significantly reduce the carbohydrates you eat early in the day, at breakfast and lunch, and to consume most of the carbohydrates later in the day (at dinner), explains nutritionist Lisa Richards, author of The Candida Diet.

“This is believed to optimize the body’s natural insulin sensitivity and make weight loss more efficient,” she says.

And when you consume carbohydrates later in the day in the hours after your workout, those carbohydrates will be better absorbed by your muscles.

If you eat carbohydrates in the evening and avoid carbohydrates with your morning meal after a night of fasting in your sleep, you are theoretically forcing your body to turn to stored fat for fuel during the day when you are active. It’s a similar concept to intermittent fasting and the keto diet.

Regardless of what kind of carbohydrate timing you follow, the key is “focusing on complex carbohydrates,” says Richards. “Cutting down or eliminating refined carbohydrates from your diet is a wise decision for your overall health, not just weight loss or performance. Refined carbohydrates are inflammatory and can lead to poor gut health and candida overgrowth, among other things.”


“If you’re prediabetic or diabetic, you probably need to be more careful about your carbohydrate consumption,” says Ax. You may need to limit the number of grains and fruits you consume, and you should avoid processed carbohydrates and added sugars, and sugary drinks. “Another thing to consider when cutting carbs is when you are trying to lose weight. You can also opt for a low-carb diet such as the keto diet (a high-fat diet with very little carbohydrates), which is fat loss can promote. “he says.

Here are simple ways you can prevent heart disease and diabetes, according to a registered nutritionist.

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For many of us, our bodies never have a chance to burn off the energy already stored because we never run out of fuel and eat carbohydrates throughout the day and constantly trigger insulin spikes.

“A person spiked it again with their morning snack, then lunch and afternoon snack. In essence, a person lives a life in which every waking moment is spent in a state of elevated insulin,” the scientist says for Metabolic research at Brigham Young University Benjamin Bikman, Ph.D., author of Why We Get Sick.


If you are inactive, your body is in a poor state of physical fitness, or you have high levels of body fat, this is not a good time to consume carbohydrates.

“The body can handle carbohydrates better during and after physical activity, as well as when fitness is high and body fat levels are lower, 15% or less for men and 20% or less for women,” says Ryan Andrews. RD, CSCS, a major nutritionist specializing in precision nutrition.

Beyond the three-hour post-workout window, you should eat mostly protein and fat, and foods that are less high in carbohydrates. “If you plan to consume more carbohydrates at times when your body is better equipped, insulin is under your control and the body is functioning better,” says Andrews.

Instead of worrying about when or not to consume carbohydrates, focus on choosing the right types of carbohydrates, stress nutritionists. Anytime can be the worst time to eat carbs when those carbs are sugary and highly processed. “Try to eat unprocessed carbohydrates that are high in fiber no matter what time of the day you eat carbohydrates,” says Dr. Ax. Examples of healthy carbohydrates are vegetables, whole pieces of fruit (instead of juice), whole grains like oats or quinoa, sweet potatoes and other potatoes, and beans and legumes. (Related: The Surprising Side Effects of Eating Oatmeal According to Science.) Dairy products, nuts, and seeds also provide you with some carbohydrates (choose unsweetened dairy products to avoid too much sugar).

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